Agriculture Stakeholders Meet for Invasive Species Green Monkey Consultation
Basseterre, St. Kitts, February 28, 2023 (ZIZ Newsroom)–Stakeholders in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Marine Resources, and Cooperatives as well as from the Ministry of Environment, Climate Action, and Constituency Empowerment met at the St. Kitts Marriot Resort on Tuesday for the National Consultation on the Management of the Invasive Green Monkey.
During the consultation, the results of the pilot project research on green monkeys, conducted under the GEF-funded project entitled ‘Preventing the Costs of Invasive Alien Species (IAS) in Barbados and the OECS,’ were shared and discussed.
Project Director of the Invasive Alien Species initiative, Eavin Parry stated the objective of the project.
He stated, “The objective of the project Preventing Cause of Invasive Alien Species in Barbados and the OECS countries is to promote the prevention, early detection, control, and management frameworks for invasive alien species that emphasize a risk management approach for focusing on the highest risk invasion pathways in the Caribbean region.”
Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Samal Duggins reported that in St. Kitts alone there are 37,000 monkeys.
He went on to highlight the destructive effects that the monkeys have had on the agricultural sector of the Federation.
“Each one creates about one pound or reduces our food supply by one pound per animal per day. And then we further take into context that that one pound represents about $2.50 cents per pound. And then we go even further and take into context that our national food import bill is, as I understand and I saw some data, of last year, I think it was around $160 million, and then we do a simple calculation of 37,000 by $2.50 cents per day for 365 days, we see that the damage is upward of 20% of our national food import bill.”
Minister Duggins also mentioned that some solutions employed by the Ministry have already started to produce positive results.
“We have been putting our hands to the wheel. We have already deployed a number of traps, and we do intend to have that number increase to about 500 by the end of 2023. I was pleasantly surprised when I received some information some weeks ago that one of our traps had captured somewhere around 100 plus monkeys. That to me represented a significant thrust underway forward.”
He noted that the aim is not to completely eradicate the monkeys as they are still a source of entertainment for tourists.
The Minister stated, however, that proper sustainable management is needed.